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Trees, woods, lawn and garden and Kevin's mini-farm at Site1

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Moving to

Lawn | Garden | Firepit | Fence work | Invasive plants and woody vines | Animals | Planting | Trees


If you are a member of Florida Farm Bureau they published in the April/May 2013 newsletter a good article about fertilizing lawns something I have been thinking about this year. Since we now have a dog I would like to do this more organically with less impact to pets and wildlife and the environment as a whole. We are stewards of the Earth God has given us to work the land and maintain it. (The Book of Genesis). Here are the scans from that article [they offer the newsletter online at the above link as well but the scans are bigger] (click the thumbnail for a larger picture and click X in the picture to close it and return here) and also some notes I have collected.

PDF is attached: Attach:florida_agriculture_201304.pdf

Mini:farm_bureau_20130501_grass_p01.png Mini:farm_bureau_20130501_grass_p02.png Mini:farm_bureau_20130501_grass_p03.png Mini:farm_bureau_20130501_grass_p04.png

Some useful links:

General Recommendations for Fertilization of Turfgrasses on Florida Soils

The Florida Lawn Handbook

University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)

Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Assoc.

Notes on lawn:

"There are three rules for good lawn.

1. Water deeply and infrequently. This goes most of the way toward keeping weeds out. Watering frequently and lightly is exactly what weed (and grass) seed need for germination.

2. Mulch mow at your mower's highest setting. This goes the rest of the way toward keeping the weeds out. That's all you can do for weed prevention (as far as I'm concerned).

3. Fertilize regularly. If you want to use organic fertilizer, you can follow my favorite plan. I fertilize at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet with ordinary corn meal (agricultural) on all the federal holidays starting with Washington's Birthday. Then Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and for you in FL, Thanksgiving.

If you think you might have an insect problem, you can get started by applying beneficial nematodes. In FL you can probably apply now and again in June.

For real time weed control, if the weeds have a tap root, use a Weed Hound tool. They work great. For clover looking weeds, hand pull. Usually it pulls out very easily and stays pulled out. If you get crabgrass in St Augustine in FL, write back. There is a special solution for that situation.

The beauty of the organic approach is that if you forget to do something, or if you accidentally double the application rate, there is no problem either way. You don't have to worry about timing one application of something against another, or timing your watering/mowing with an application. You can mow, water, apply fertilizer, and apply beneficial nematodes all in the same day (or night). This is no-hassle lawn care. The real keys are steps 1 and 2 above."


2013 Sarah built a raised bed garden using two of these from Lowes.

Bonnie 48-in L x 48-in W x 6-in H Plastic Raised Garden Bed Lowes Item #: 86066 | Model #: SBX-BPL

We used "garden mix" which is part manure from West Volusia Shed Company at only $20 a yard. A yard fills my Titan full size pickup bed.


Where to get it:

West Volusia Shed Co
3030 S Woodland Blvd
DeLand, FL 32720
(386) 775-8676

Pest Control:

"What can be done to prevent those ugly, green, caterpillar-like horned worms that destroy tomato plants?"

Bacillus thuringiensis or "bt" to spray on tomatoes to prevent caterpillars

"Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a naturally occurring bacterial disease of insects. These bacteria are the active ingredient in some insecticides.

Bt insecticides are most commonly used against some leaf- and needle-feeding caterpillars. Recently, strains have been produced that affect certain fly larvae, such as mosquitoes, and larvae of leaf beetles.

Bt is considered safe to people and nontarget species, such as wildlife. Some formulations can be used on essentially all food Crops.

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is an insecticide with unusual properties that make it useful for pest control in certain situations. Bt is a naturally occurring bacterium common in soils throughout the world. Several strains can infect and kill insects. Because of this property, Bt has been developed for insect control. At present, Bt is the only "microbial insecticide" in widespread use."

Notes on "bt":

Where to buy it: Lowes may have it also.

Other pest issues:


In the late winter of 2013-2013 Sarah built a firepit using bricks from the nearby Lowe's store. The bricks used were something like this -|0

Some pics at

Mini:firepit01.jpg Mini:firepit02.jpg Mini:firepit03.jpg Mini:firepit04.jpg Mini:firepit05.jpg


In the spring of 2013 I bought several trees for planting in our "orchard" west of the fence line out back including a blueberry and blackberry bush, an orange tree, a plumb tree and lime tree, a lemon tree and I have plans to purchase three olive trees as well from in Citra, FL.

Some links and notes:

Pics will be coming later this summer as I organize the "orchard".

Fence work:

The hurricanes of 2004 dropped a number of trees that fell in the roof of the house, totaled Noah's car and broke our chain link fence in the back yard in several places. Worse vines had begun to over take our back yard coming through the broken sections of the fence and the dog began to find out ways to sneak through the broken portions of the fence. In the fall of 2012 and through the summer of 2013 I fixed the entire fence line to the east, cut down the many overgrown vines and cleared a perimeter around the entire fence line. A lot of hard work to be sure. Finally I put in a drive gate replacing a 10 foot section of broken fence line allowing quick access to our "wooded area" next door on a unfinished lot. Some before and after pictures at





I used this bolt cutter to break the chain link for the drive gate I installed. I got it at Harbor Freight for only $20.


Invasive plants, woody vines and brambles:

At Site1 we suffer from several invasive plant species and some non-invasive ones, bramble canes, woody vines: Muscadine and wild grape vines, Skunk vines, and also some herbaceous (nonwoody) vines like Kudzu that I manage to keep in check but it grows crazy fast. Some are vines that grow rapidly producing a canopy over indigenous trees and grow to becomes canopy trees of their own. These include Skunk vine (I have seen these plants in pockets around Deltona and some cases DeLand but not very often) and Centipede tongavine among others I am still trying to identify.

Our Muscadines are not self-pollinating and therefore we never see fruit from them.

For manual cutting I recommend a Friskars lopper or a Panga style machete (or look here for a Panga). My Lopper has been left out in the rain and used in muddy dirt and with some cleaning off remains very sharp and useful. High recommend it. I now carry it on the tractor in case I see something needing pruning while mowing.

More info:

Images of FLEPPC-listed species may be found at one or more of the following websites: University of South Florida Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants,; the University of Florida Herbarium collection catalog,, and image gallery,; at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardenís Virtual Herbarium,, The Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium at Florida State University,; the University of Floridaís IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants,, and the USDA PLANTS database, Please note that greater success and accuracy in searching for plant information is likely if you search by scientific name rather than common name. Common names often vary in cultivation and across regions.

Other plant data resources such as the University of South Florida Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants at, the Florida Natural Areas Inventory database at, and The Institute for Regional Conservation Floristic Inventory of South Florida database at, provides important basic supporting information for the FLEPPC List of Invasive Plant Species.


"Brambles are biennial plants but have a perennial root system. The roots continue to grow for the life of the plant, but new above-ground shoots (generally called "canes") develop each year. The first-year shoots grow vegetatively but do not flower. In the second year these shoots flower, set seed (berries), and then senesce and die.

The photo below shows the arrangement of canes, shoots, and roots at the base of the plant. There are several dormant shoots. Iif the above-ground shoots are killed by fire or cutting, one or more of the dormant buds will begin to grow and form a new canes."

Muscadines grow similar to the Brambles above with a cane like root stock that spreads if not controlled or blocked some times up to 100 feet or more.

Notes on Herbicides - Invasive Species Management Plans for Florida

For the fence line areas since I want to preserve the grass I use 1 part Remedy 3 parts part diesel. Never use Roundup or Arsenal thee will kill everything and stay on the soil for ever. Useless around here. The best time to do this work in Central Florida is off-season late autumn or early winter. I use Thanksgiving week for this kind of work and for cutting back. Once the rots are cut down I use the John Deere to ride over them once a month to keep growth from restarting. I cleared all the way around the fence for this reason. Keeps the vines from pulling down your fence.

Cut the vines down to the stump or root above the soil and apply a brush killer (Triclopyr) or root stock treatment. See also and For more organic and natural approaches see

  1. Prepare a 2 to 3 percent solution of triclopyr herbicide mixed with kerosene, diesel fuel or vegetable oil, according to manufacturer instructions. The use of oily products instead of water ensures even coverage of the foliage and makes it less likely that the herbicide will drip off the brush. Mix the solution in a garden sprayer for large patches of brush or use a 1-quart spray bottle for smaller patches of brush.
  2. Add 1 ounce of blue spray marking dye to the herbicide solution. Marking dye, available at most garden centers, colors the herbicide as you spray, making it easier to identify treated brush plants.
  3. Spray the leaves of the brush with the herbicide solution until the foliage is evenly coated.
  4. Spray the stems near the base of the brush plants with the herbicide solution.
  5. Allow up to 10 days for the brush to die, then clear the dead plants from the area.
  6. Repeat this application if new growth occurs until the entire area is clear and the brush does not return. If some plants are stubborn, you can cut the stalks with bypass pruners, then apply the herbicide solution to the cut stem. The stem draws the herbicide into the root to kill the entire plant.

"Woody-vine control in landscape plantings No selective herbicides exist that allow you to chemically control woody vines growing among broadleaf ornamentals. (All chemical controls discussed here are listed in the table on page 61.) Cultural controls include hand weeding and repeated cultivation. Cutting the stems at the soil line does not control these weeds due to re-growth from rootstocks. Cutting the vine at the soil line and then treating the young re-growth with a systemic herbicide is an option when you cannot easily spray the weed's foliage without contacting foliage of desirable plants.

Spraying a contact herbicide such as diquat or pelargonic acid will affect the foliage but will not eliminate underground portions of the vine. (Repeated application gradually can deplete the root reserves of a perennial if you continually spray the re-growth.) A physical barrier such as black plastic or a landscape fabric suppresses establishment of these weeds from seed. However, mulches are ineffective for controlling perennial vines that already are established. Therefore, chemical control is limited to non-selective post-emergence herbicides such as glyphosate (Monsanto's Roundup Pro) and glufosinate ammonium (AgrEvo's Finale).

Roundup Pro, a systemic herbicide, is the compound of choice for most situations because it translocates to roots of perennial vines. However, you may need to make repeated applications to completely kill a perennial vine with a deep, well-established root system. Finale is a contact herbicide with limite translocation in plants. You can expect regrowth from the rootstock following an application with this product, and you'll probably need repeat treatments for long-term control.

Lately I have been using Gly Star Plus Glyphosate Herbicide the best price in bulk I have seen is a Agri Supply online.

To avoid injury to nearby ornamentals when you spray with Roundup or Finale, use a shielded spray. When using directed sprays, avoid contacting the bark of young trees or species with thin or green bark. Both Roundup and Finale can cause bark injury to such plants. Wiper applications of Roundup are another way to apply this herbicide near sensitive ornamentals. You'll need to use higher concentrations of Roundup with wipers-check the label for specific use directions."

Root systems:

Pruning info:

Animals, feral and wildlife:

Around 2012 in the autumn a fawn and two does appeared to be crossing on a regular basis our main boulevard into the our neighbors property. One evening in June 2013 I saw them foraging near our back property fence line. This is the overgrown scrub areas I am attempting to clear out for green space. I may start putting out corn form them to graze on.

Racoons certainly in past years have been a problem being so bold one time as entering the house kitchen area having found both the porch screen door and the sliding glass door open in late autumn. I have not seen them around since the Autumn of 2012.

A newcomer possibly is feral pigs at night. In early Spring 2013 I noticed ground "rooting" which I thought originally were moles making tunnels but I the considered the possibility it was feral hogs.

Bears are also a potential problem although I have not see any here as of yet.



In May 2014 I bought some tomato plant for a $1 each at the local Ace hardware. Here is my struggle with them.



We have several large southern pines that are a danger to the house and nee removal. More on this later.

While at the Barberville Jamboree in 2013 I met the owner (Rod) of White Oak portable Sawmill based in Samsula, Florida. I am thinking about using him to make pine benches out of the trees we fell later in 2014.

I saved his card if you are interested and local:


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